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cleaning up camps sites

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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby mokelumnekid » Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:47 pm

A related tale: We were hiking in the Wind Rivers to do a little climbing and we went into the fabulous Cirque of the Towers area. There were multiple signs en route that fires were absolutely forbidden. Well, one evening sure enough I smell smoke and can see some distance away a pretty good fire going. What to do? Go over and try to be the tough/good guy? Keep it to myself (I don't wear a badge after all)?

But after a bit I just couldn't take it anymore and figured that I had to go over and say something. With a kind of sick feeling in my stomach I walked over to the group and tried in a friendly way to engage them on this issue. Much to my surprise almost at the very same instant three other people showed up, independently, to do the same thing. The group of fire-starters, in the face of our enerest, but serious, concern, quickly put the fire out, explaining that after all, they were from (a country on the other side of the Atlantic) and that there, no one pays any attention to the signs. I honestly sensed they felt embarassed, and also amazed that here in the US we take the idea of wilderness as a point of personal responsibility. Or at least some do.

The campgrounds and parks are full of boorish fools as well as sages and saints. If someone is operating within the law, no matter how childish, I usually leave well enough alone, and will move my camp if I have to. But if someone is clearly over the legal line, than maybe some words are warrented, but in a way that makes them want to consider their actions, not punch you out.



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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby AldeFarte » Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:53 pm

Guess I am a bit of a boorish fool, but I like my evening fire, even if it is just a very small one. These days when I am lucky enough to visit Gods country, We break up the ring and scatter, etc. Unless it is an established site we can tell will be used again. It is as much of a selfish personal concern as anything else ,as I have always practised "Leave no sign of your passing" as a motto. If you think it is bad now, there are many here who can attest that 25 or 30 years ago it WAS bad! That is one thing I applaud the rangers and their type for accomplishing. They have succeeded in cleaning up the backcountry. Tho I am sure "It will never be enough"! Fire is natural. It is akin to "prescribed" burning, as long as it does not get away. The barren backcountry needs the nutrient breakdown that fire provides. We do need to keep sites clean and asceticly pleasing to others, but I'll keep my fire thank you.
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby mokelumnekid » Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:25 am

Hey Aldefart- I want to be clear that I wasn't trying to say anything about people having fires- my point was only about people who are careless or who have them where they are not allowed. If it works for you and it is legal, no problem in my book. I understand your point completely.

In fact when I see giant, burning/smoldering clearcuts here in WA state where I live, I'm not so worried about the environmental impacts of a few folks doing what is allowed within the law.

So floks plese don't mis-interpret my point, I think we are all on the side of responsibility right?
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby Skibum » Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:49 am

What never ceases to amaze me is that while patrolling the campgrounds here in Grant Grove, it will be the middle of the day, in the upper 80s and campers will still have a roaring fire going. Not for cooking, just to have a fire.

I guess it's instinctual, protect the kiddlets from Dire wolves, Saber Toothed Cats, rabid ground squirrels.

I have to admit, I do enjoy a fire when car camping. Especially in the canyon country of the southwest. Love the smell of Juniper and Pinyon. Or, to thaw out after a great surf session somewhere on the Lost Coast.....
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby AldeFarte » Sun Sep 06, 2009 11:59 pm

Kid. No offence taken. Glad you clarified it tho. Different strokes for different folks.
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby paul » Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:21 pm

Here's the worst fire experience I've had: in the Grouse Ridge area north of I-80 a few years ago in August. Fire restrictions were in place due to the usual late summer tinder-dry conditions; no fires allowed outside of developed campgrounds. Large signs (red signs, you couldn't miss them) in place at the trailheads, notifyng hikers that no fires were allowed in the backcountry. And you are supposed to get a campfire permit, even if your using a stove, before camping in the national forest. If you do so, you will be told the regulations very clearly. So, everywhere we camped (3 nights) we were the only people who did not have a fire. And not just little fires, but big ones. At one lake there were perhaps 6 parties camped, and all but us had fires. At our second campsite, we arrived in the middle of the day to find a tiny wisp of smoke just visible rising from a fire ring. I walked over and held my hand over it - I could feel the heat. A quick stir with a stick revealed glowing coals. So the responsible folks who had camped here bofore us not only had an illegal fire in dangerous conditions, they failed to put it out. I don't know why people continue to believe they can put out a fire without WATER, and I wonder just who they think the signs and regulations do apply to, if not them?
I enjoy a fire as much as the next guy, but I'm not going to put the forest at risk just so I can enjoy a fire. If a fire is what you need to enjoy the trip, why not go to a place where you can have one safely?
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby calipidder » Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:46 pm

@paul unfortunately, I've run into the same thing in the same area. One thing I've noticed (particularly in that location) is the lack of signage by the national forest - the only reason I knew that campfires were done for the season was due to my research - either by phone or web browsing - prior to the trip. No signs at the trailhead or on the road in to the area - maybe it's different this year. If I'd just driven up there I would have no idea that campfires were restricted. Although, like the rest of you, I'm frustrated by those who don't take the time to educate themselves before hitting the trail, when there is no indication on the roads or trailhead signs heading into an area that campfires are prohibited, it's hard to play the 'nice guy' and ask people to follow regulations when they think you are making it up. Even when I'm in a group, people don't want to believe me if they don't see it for themselves at or on their way to the trailhead.

I think that national parks/wilderness areas are much better at this. But national forest could be better at informing the public of the current regulations. Maybe they are improving, but I can say for sure that there have been *no* signs in past years when phone calls/web research have clearly articulated the opposite.
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby Strider » Thu Sep 10, 2009 12:30 pm

:snipe:

Maybe there is an upside to carrying concealed weapons in wilderness areas afetr all!
'Hike long and perspire'
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby hikerduane » Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:00 pm

I've told people that campfires weren't allowed, but was told it was a tradition to have a fire when camping. This was in a wilderness. Thanks alot, I live up here, you burn my scenery up, you go home, I have to look at it and live with it.
Piece of cake.
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